A shortage of skilled labour in the automotive sector is a constraint on businesses operating in that sector as motor vehicle dealers make tremendous efforts to achieve high customer satisfaction in sales and service. A survey conducted for the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) estimates a total shortage of 27,377 skilled personnel in 2016-17 and is estimated to grow to 35,083 during 2017-18, moderating slightly to 31,202 in 2018-19. The impact of skilled shortages includes loss of productivity, increased labour costs to retain skilled technicians, and use of sub-standard labour requiring greater supervision particularly in regional areas. The Skilling Australian Fund announced in the 2017-18 Budget was a commitment by the Australian Government to address skills shortages with a focus on apprenticeships, trainees and pre-apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships. AADA supports continuation of the Government’s investment in the fund.
The automotive industry needs skilled personnel to meet the challenges of the future and a shortage of skilled labour is driving up costs for businesses and therefore the cost of servicing and repair for consumers. Analysis by the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research shows that apprenticeship numbers are down 465,000 from 5 years ago with approximately 47.5 per cent of automotive businesses currently experiencing skills shortages.
Australia’s registered national fleet of 18.8 million vehicles requires regular servicing and maintenance. The industry has struggled to attract and retain new workers over the past decade or more because of negative perceptions about the industry and the type of work involved. Trends in automotive technology will require new and specialist training in hybrid, electric and autonomous vehicles. There is an opportunity for Government for Government to play a key role by continuing its investment in the Skilling Australians Fund.
- There is a shortage of skilled labour in the automotive sector estimated to grow from 27,377 skilled personnel in 2016-17 to 35,083 in 2017-18.
- A shortage of skilled technicians is driving up the costs of dealership businesses through loss of productivity, increased labour rates, and increased supervision of sub-standard labour particularly in regional areas.
- Government commitment to the Skilling Australians Fund will underpin a continued supply of skilled workers to meet the challenges of the future.
The Government has not reached agreement with the States and Territories to commence projects to increase apprenticeship numbers or reaffirm its commitment to investment in the fund. AADA urges the Government to renew its focus on apprenticeships and continue its investment in the Skilling Australians Fund.